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Squadron Leader Minty Aggarwal, the IAF officer who played a significant role in intercepting the Pakistan air force's attempt to launch retaliatory air attacks, was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal on the eve of Independence Day. The 30-year-old female officer executed a major role in heading off the retaliatory air attacks after the Indian Air Force's Balakot airstrikes.
Minty Aggarwal joined the air force nine years ago. Along with her, four other officers were also awarded the Yudh Seva Medal for the Balakot operation. The IAF received a total of 13 awards including five Yudh Seva Medals and seven Vayu Sena Medal.
The Yuddh Seva Medal is a recognition of distinguished service of a high order during war, conflict or hostilities. And, Sq Ldr Aggarwal is the first woman in India's military history to be awarded the medal.
Watch the video here-
Part of a seven-member team, Sq Ldr Aggarwal's team was on duty on February 27 morning and was in charge of controlling the Indian Air Force's interception package launched to stop Pakistan's fighter jets.
Minty Agarwal, IAF Squadron leader: I participated in both the missions on 26th February as well as on 27th February. Wing Commander Abhinandan was in a two way communication with me when he was on air. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/8w27EA3KQK— ANI (@ANI) August 15, 2019
Commander Abinandan Varthaman was directed by Sq Ldr Aggarwal to turn back at the right moment but was not able to receive the instruction due to the communication system being jammed by the Pakistan Air force.
"I participated in both the missions on February 26 as well as on February 27. Wing Commander Abhinandan was in two-way communication with me when he was on the air," said the Sq Ldr  .
The seven-member team had two women fighter controllers including Aggarwal were operating underground from a bunker at Ambala airbase.
Minty Aggarwal said, "From the time Wing Commander Abhinandan was airborne, I was the one who was providing him with the air situation picture. The situation awareness was passed by me to him about the posture of enemy aircraft ."
Minty Aggarwal's quick action and recognition by the Indian government has become an inspiration for the female officers in IAF and alike. It was only in 1990 IAF opened its door for women and in comparison to the time then, female officers have come a long way and the first-ever YSM has indeed become a source of inspiration to all.
Take A Bow Minty Aggarwal!
-  India Today. (2019 August 15). IAF woman controller who guided Abhinandan during February 27 dogfight gets Yudh Seva Medal. Retrieved from https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/iaf-woman-controller-abhinandan-dogfight-yudh-seva-medal-1581119-2019-08-15